There was a slight increase in early-stage cancer diagnoses after the Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare,” went into effect in January 2014.
More than 20 million Americans were able to get insurance because of various ACA provisions in the years that followed its introductions, which might have led to more people getting screened for cancer.
Comparing data from 2013 and 2014, the study, which will be presented at the upcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in June, the researchers from the American Cancer Society looked at the data from 273,000 patients, and focused on cancers that can be detected through screening.
The researchers saw a 1% increase happened in breast and cervical cancer in women and lung and colorectal cancer in both men and women. Over the same time period, though, early stage prostate cancer diagnoses decreased by 1%.
An estimated 1.7 million people will be diagnosed with cancer in the US, at any stage, per year which means the 1% increase in early-stage diagnoses could represent a sizeable chunk of patients diagnosed earlier than they might have been otherwise. Diagnosing cancer at its earliest stages can increase a person’s chances of responding to treatment.
Of course, this study only compares data between 2013 and 2014. It remains to be seen if there’s a consistent increase in early cancer diagnoses in the years to come. And the fate of the ACA is up in the air after the House passed
The American Health Care Act, the GOP plan to overhaul the US healthcare system, on May 4.
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